Plaintiff Trial Lawyer – Jay Vaughn

Stan T.

Day in the life of
Plaintiff Trial Lawyer – Jay Vaughn

Jay Vaughn
Plaintiff Trial Lawyer
Hendy Johnson Vaughn Emery

I’m a Plaintiff Trial Lawyer at Hendy Johnson Vaughn Emery.

It’s a very dynamic career as there are so many different areas of law to practice. I am a Plaintiff’s Trial Lawyer who represents people injured or families of loved ones who were killed by the negligent conduct of someone else. I feel a great amount of responsibility as my clients are entrusting their case and their livelihood in my hands to bring them or their loved ones justice. Whether it is a large truck crash resulting in someone’s death or an incident at a big box store resulting in my client suffering a traumatic brain injury, I have to also be focused on the issues in their case, organized so that I am able to manage multiple cases at once and patient as most cases take several years to resolve or get to trial.

Being a lawyer is a very fulfilling career, but stressful at the same time. To be a successful lawyer, you need excellent customer service, organizational and time management skills as there are always calls and meetings with clients, attorneys for opposing parties, judges, medical experts, and your staff. Lawyers are always faced with various deadlines for cases, having to take witness testimony, preparing for a hearing, or preparing for a jury trial.

Most importantly, I learned as a young lawyer the importance of being accessible to your clients as this is new territory for them – they are hurting, they feel lost, they are facing financial ruin due to being unable to work, and are fearful for the future – you need to be able to help comfort, talk through their fear and stress, and provide them reassurances that you are doing everything you can to obtain justice for their case.

What is your work life like?

As a Plaintiff’s Trial Lawyer and part-owner of my firm, I can set my own hours and schedule for the most part. I try to be at the office by 9:00 am and will usually work until 5:00-6:00 pm during the week. I only work weekends if I have an upcoming jury trial or important deposition or hearing. Although with technology, I am constantly receiving and checking emails in the evening as some matters require prompt attention. When possible, I will take off early to spend more time with my family or engage in recreational activities to relieve stress such as tennis. I think maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial to the practice of law as it is a very high-stress job.

The longer I’ve practiced, the better I have gotten at maintaining a healthy balance and learning that no matter how hard you work, there is no such thing as being caught up – so it’s okay to shut down the computer and go home.


The pros of being a lawyer are the satisfaction of winning a client’s case, seeing the happiness and relief in their faces knowing they got justice. It is rewarding to take on a difficult case, tear apart the defense through documents and witness testimony, and hold a person or company responsible for the harm they caused my clients. There are many opportunities to improve the law either through the legislative process or legal organizations, which can be very fulfilling.


The biggest con to being a lawyer is high stress. Some people are good at managing stress and even thrive on a stressful environment, while others do not function well under stress. Being a lawyer involves constant stress from clients regarding their cases, managing staff, running a law practice, paying overhead, funding case expenses, dealing with difficult opposing attorneys, deadlines from courts, and so on.

Many lawyers are not prepared or equipped for the stress that comes with the job and end up making mistakes, quitting or even worse. Sadly, there is a high suicide rate amongst lawyers and within the last month, there have been four Kentucky lawyers who have committed suicide. I encourage anyone wanting to be a lawyer to have someone outside of the law to talk to, vent to and check in with on a periodic basis as mental health awareness is vital to longevity in the practice of law.

Finally, I have been a lawyer for 18 years and absolutely love it. However, I have known many lawyers who did not enjoy it at all. In fact, they hated being a lawyer because they got into the law for the wrong reasons, be it because of their family or they liked the idea of the status of being a lawyer or they thought they would make a lot of money. Those are all the wrong reasons to be a lawyer.

In my opinion, you become a lawyer because you love the law, you love helping people and you love having the ability to stand up and fight for someone whose life has been changed through no fault of their own.

Jay Vaughn
Plaintiff Trial Lawyer
Hendy Johnson Vaughn Emery
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represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, or manage or advise clients on legal transactions. May specialize in a single area or may practice broadly in many areas of law.

Salary: $148910
Salary Rank: A
Education: Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree
Becoming One: Very Hard
Job Satisfaction: Average
Job Growth: High
Suitable Personality: The Leader